How to Narrow Down the Best Colors for Your Brand Identity

Published: January 14, 2021

Author
Mariah Raner

Categories:

It only takes a minute and a half for most consumers to decide whether they like a product they’re seeing for the first time. Color is also one of the most integral elements of your brand identity because it helps you develop brand recognition.  And would you believe us if we said that the brand colors influence 62 to 90 percent of the evaluation? 

You heard that right.

Businesses must know the psychology of colors when creating a brand identity. It’s a sure way to help you stand out from the masses (visually) when marketing your products and services.

What does this mean? People associate brands with colors. In fact, the average consumer is 80 percent more likely to remember a brand based on the color. (Hey! Isn’t Starbucks green, black, and white?)

For this reason, businesses across the globe prioritize learning the ins and outs of brand colors to ensure they’re competitive, memorable, and aesthetically pleasing.

So, how do you select the best colors for your brand? We’re glad you asked.

Designing Your Brand Identity: How to Choose Brand Colors

Brand Identity Colors for BrandCraft client Proven Meals

When putting together your brand identity, remember that colors are far beyond shades. They represent your brand’s personality and trigger emotions in your target audience. The right colors can make a complicated tech brand look user friendly, and they can make a serious law firm look more approachable. 

Picking brand colors shouldn’t happen overnight. It takes time to nail down the attributes you wish to portray through color. It also takes a little knowledge of what each color means so that you can ensure it fits your brand image.

Here’s how to choose brand colors:

#1: Define your mission and brand pillars.

Ulta Beauty is a wonderful example of a company that connects their brand colors to the mission. Their purpose is clear. “Every day, we use the power of beauty to bring to life the possibilities that lie within each of us–inspiring every guest and enabling each associate to build a fulfilling career.” 

So, how do you take a mission like that and incorporate it into your brand identity? You find colors that evoke feelings. Think of the wording: possibilities, inspiring, and fulfilling. These are all words you can highlight in colors (more on that below). 

#2: Think about your brand promise.

Banks are the first organizations that come to mind regarding a brand promise. Most financial institutions aim to be dependable, trustworthy, and transparent. They also seek to provide stability. Since your money is involved, those traits are key to gaining your business.

The right colors can remind your target audience of these qualities. Yes, your website content might reveal trust factors about your brand, but the colors enhance your words. They help your target audience visualize your business’s benefits and show people that you always follow through. 

#3: Consider your business type. 

Every brand is a little different. Some companies prefer subtle logos and color schemes, while others seek bold designs and colors that tell consumers all they should know about your brand. 

A dental clinic might seek a family-focused brand image with a trustworthy color scheme (usually blue). In contrast, a graphic apparel store may have better brand alignment with brighter, bolder colors (maybe even neon shades). Finding a consistent brand color that reflects your business type is vital to brand alignment. 

#4: Turn to the color wheel.

A simple website “about” page can help you find keywords that describe your brand. You can then use those keywords to find any common themes and choose your colors.

What happens when you nail down the perfect color? Sometimes, you may want to add secondary colors. In that case, you can research color psychology (get a full breakdown below) or take a peek at the color wheel for inspiration.

#5: Ask your customers. 

This is a fun idea that works for building new brands and refreshing existing ones. A simple Facebook poll may be all it takes to generate feedback on the best primary and secondary colors to use in your brand identity guide. 

You can also share a few side-by-side logos and ask customers to pick the option they prefer. As long as you’re asking your target audience (who will ultimately be purchasing your products or services), this insight is golden. 

Color Psychology: What does each color mean for your brand identity?

There are many colors in branding and marketing. Here at BrandCraft, we use shades of orange, red, and purple. 

Every color has a reason and inner meaning. Let’s talk about specifics so you can choose the right colors for your company. 

Red 

“We’re kind of a big deal.” 

Red is one of those colors that stops you in your tracks. It’s flashy, powerful, and hard to ignore. You can break up the occasional text with red call-to-action buttons to entice people to click. 

Coca-Cola's brand colors which are red factor into their brand identity

One well-known company that uses red in their branding is Coca-Cola. Soda drinkers from all over need only see the famous two words on a bottle or can to know what they’re drinking. 

Just keep in mind that while red is a show-stopper, it’s not for every brand. If you’re a massage therapist seeking to give a calm persona, red is probably not the best option for you. You’d be better off using a neutral (brown or white) or oceanic (green or blue) color scheme. 

Orange

“We’re innovative.”

Nothing says “creativity” quite like the color orange. It’s a fun color that sparks your imagination. Orange suggests you get things done and always put your best foot forward. A simple glance at an orange logo–or packaging–assures consumers that you have just the product or service for them.

Let’s go back to Ulta for a moment. They use orange throughout their website, buildings, and bags. Ulta also has healthy doses of pink throughout their online platforms. 

The pops of orange say, “Ulta is practical. They have new, exciting products that you need to try.” It entices people to shop online or visit a local store to see what types of useful cosmetics or hair products are waiting for them. (The brand also does a fantastic job using orange in their social media content, alongside personable, fun, and useful captions.)

Want to do something similar with your brand? Contact our marketing team today.

Yellow

“We’re friendly.”

Yellow spreads happy, enthusiastic, and free-spirited thoughts (i.e., no care in the world). It personifies brands and makes consumers feel like they’re talking to a friend (when it’s used thoughtfully in the brand identity). 

Image Source: Best Buy

We don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes to mind for a yellow logo is Best Buy. The company is an excellent source for tech products. You’ll find a little bit of everything—from 4K TVs and surround sound systems to smartphones and MacBooks.

Best Buy features products from some of the world’s top brands, including Apple, Sony, Samsung, Microsoft, and Intel. They’re all about giving you quality tech and customer service at an affordable price. Yellow takes a brand that could be complicated in nature and makes it friendly. (Who doesn’t love the Geek Squad?)

Green

“We’re a smart choice.”

The color green is all about balance in branding. Many natural product brands and spas use this color on their logos and marketing materials. It’s clear why: green resembles nature, and when you’re working with self-care products, you want to give your audience feelings of relaxation.

Green branding also works with other types of companies. Spotify and Hulu are two examples. Both websites have dark backgrounds. The green offsets the harsh color so that it’s more appealing to the eye. 

Many self-help and personal development books also have green color schemes. That’s because green signifies “growth.” That gives the impression that you may improve your mindset or figure out a solution for a problem in your life when you use a product with green packaging. 

Blue

“We’re the right solution for you.”

Do you ever notice how most Disney movies (and accompanying logos) have a blue color scheme? There’s a reason families love it so much. Blue represents security, comfort, and good judgment. 

Disney uses smart marketing. They know their target demographic, and one of the ways they ensure brand alignment is by sticking to a standard color scheme. 

Walt Disney’s logo colors are pure black, blue, and white. As for Disney Pictures, you’ll notice two shades of blue and white. These colors build trust and highlight youth.

Purple

“We’re worth it.”

Several luxury brand color palettes feature purple. Similar to red, purple gives an impression of strength, high class, and luxury. 

Some even say that purple indicates “royalty.” Hallmark is a great example of this. With their logo’s script lettering and bold purple background, you immediately think, “This is high quality and unique.”

Hallmark takes things a step further with a crown on their logo. This shows the brand is prestigious and worth a try over the competition.

White

“We’re easy to work with.”

Many companies use white to convey ease of use. It’s especially popular in tech, as it makes fancy gadgets and devices look less overwhelming.

White also pairs well with other colors. If your products or services are hard to understand, adding white to your brand colors may be worth it.

Best Buy’s website incorporates lots of white space alongside yellow and blue. The content is also broken into small chunks, making it easier to follow. That speaks to their desire to simplify their business for customers.

Black

“We’re elite.”

Do you ever wonder why many designer brands feature the color black? Simple. Black says, “We’re as classy as it gets.” In addition to being popular with luxury apparel and handbag brands, such as Prada, it also works in professional service industries.

One of the best qualities about black is that it goes well with many other logo colors. It also makes your brand look secretive, which attracts attention. In the beauty industry, you need this type of allure to get people to buy. It’s the same reason why many beauty product suppliers, such as Ulta, feature pink. It gets you to look.

The one thing to consider if you choose to make black your primary logo color is that, as you know, the color is dark. That means you can benefit from incorporating one other color or white to break up the background–just as Hulu and Spotify do. Light and dark colors pair well together in branding. Just as green exudes balance, combining complementary colors can, too. 

What colors make for a unique brand identity?

Most companies use anywhere from one to three colors for their branding. You’ll use a primary color (usually something strong and bold) and at least one secondary color (something more subdued to enhance the primary color). 

That brings us to the billion-dollar question: what colors work well together? The color wheel is helpful for this, as it essentially says that colors across from one another are most appealing to the eye.

But opposite colors aren’t the only color schemes that work in branding. According to Canva, monochromatic colors (same color, different shades) and triadic colors (three colors with equal room between one another on the color wheel) are great, too. 

Consider one of these fun combos:

  • Purple and red
  • Orange and green
  • Dark and light pink
  • Tan and lavender
  • Red and blue
  • Yellow and green
  • Pink and black
  • Rose gold and green
  • Brown, purple, and green
  • Black and gold
  • Purple and orange

Summary 

Choosing brand colors is no easy task. It involves extensive research, a good understanding of your brand, and a little imagination.

Your brand identity should include details on the primary and secondary logo colors, as well as when to use them. Designing a brand identity guide might come in handy to keep your team on the same page. 

The bottom line is that colors influence emotions. They’re vital for helping consumers visualize how your products or services can benefit them. So, take sufficient time to choose the best colors for your brand. You won’t regret it.

Want to give your company’s look a much-needed refresh? BrandCraft’s creative services are for you. Connect with us today to learn all the ways we can elevate your brand.

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